With thanks to Portobello Books comes a review of Andés Barba’s chilling ‘Such Small Hands’, his third book to be translated into English. Afterword by Edmund White.
Title: Such Small Hands
Author: Andres Barba
Available: 3rd August 2017 (ooooh we got an advance copy, thanks Portobello)
It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything for review, and even longer since I’ve been so challenged by such a short book. Such Small Hands takes us by the hand and leads us into the strange life of Marina as she assimilates into the orphanage following a car accident in which “Her father died instantly, her mother in the hospital”.
Continue reading “Review: Such Small Hands”
It’s that bleak humour that makes me love Christie, a blasé flaunting of the ridiculous that somehow seems plausible as we read it.
Featured Reader: A devilishly handsome man hiding behind a book. AKA Moz but I prefer the mystery man title.
Currently Reading: Destination Unknown by Agatha Christie.
Favourite Part/Line: While trying to recruit a spy, a character pitches the mission in the least appealing way possible, and yet it works: “I’m suggesting another method. Rather a sporting method really. There’s some excitement in it too. I’ll be fair with you. There’s just a hundred to one chance you mightn’t die. But I don’t believe under the circumstances, that you’d really object by that time.” It’s that bleak humour that makes me love Christie, a blasé flaunting of the ridiculous that somehow seems plausible as we read it.
As with last time, if you would like to take part in this ‘What’s London Reading’ feature here on TheCrackedSpineBlog and are free for a quick photo and chat please use the contact page of the blog, or you can message our Instagram or Facebook pages.
Featured Reader: Tash, a fellow blogger, from The Bottom Step who very kindly agreed to be this week’s feature as she is aiming to complete 52 books in the 52 short weeks of 2017! We met in the in the beautiful Bloomsbury Coffee House where we grabbed a cup of surprisingly affordable and delicious coffee (well an Earl Grey Tea Latte for me).
Currently Reading: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty.
Favourite Thing About the Book So Far: I really like reading it because it’s set in London so I can easily walk around the streets and follow where the main character is at the part I’m reading. Or I can just look up and see I’m on a street and be like ‘Oh this is where that thing happened!’ And I love the way the story builds, giving lots of tantalising clues to the main plot and as the story evolves you have to connect the dots.
Continue reading “What’s London Reading 07/02/17?”
Last night saw the announcement of the Costa Book of the Year award, chosen from the five winners of the individual book prizes Costa sponsor under novel, first novel, children’s book, poetry and biography. The nominees were as varied as the categories themselves:
- Novel: Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Winner)
- First novel: Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
- Children’s book: The Bombs that Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan
- Poetry: Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
- Biography: Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew.
I’m not sure I can really comment on how deserving Barry is this year as I’ve still not read his offering (or any of the others for that matter). However, I will say that last night as I watched the awards I was intrigued by all of the books on the shortlist. Most of all Dadland: A Journey into Uncharted Territory by Keggie Carew.
A biography of her father as he develops dementia, which as it descends past the surface details of the man himself, becomes a chase down the rabbit hole to find out a convoluted personal history. As a terminally nosey person, the idea of digging into the enigma of Carew’s father just captured my imagination. I have added this book to both my Amazon wishlist, Goodreads to-be-read, and the booklist of a reading group that’s formed in my university class (mostly because speech therapy trainees tend to be interested in dementia).
As for the winner, Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, it’s no secret I’m a great lover of the man’s work and have raved about it to all and sundry. I’ve been excited to read this one since I saw it in the Faber and Faber catalogue last year and FINALLY purchased it just today from a lovely clerk in Waterstones Gower Street. I’m really looking forward to getting into it!
On the rest of the books, I can only paraphrase others whom I’ve seen on the Beeb during the awards show but must admit I am also intrigued by them. In particular, the poetry entry Falling Awake which was described as a book of nature poetry that isn’t quite the pastoral comments one might expect. Also going with another fellow countryman, Graham Norton (one of this year’s judges), Golden Hill is firmly next in line on my to be read pile… after everything else.
So, if you’re at a loss for what to read check out the shortlist, maybe you’ll find your next favourite book!
A new featured post here on TheCrackedSpineBlog: What’s London Reading. An insight into what London’s bookworms are munching on!
Featured Reader: Serena, a masters student at UCL ( and one of Moz’s friends kind enough to pose for this kind of awkward angle).
Currently Reading: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
Favourite Sentence/Passage: “Just because a man has made enough money to come to Gion and waste it however he chooses doesn’t mean he’s fun to be around. In fact, many of the men are accustomed to being treated with a great deal of respect. Sitting back with their hands on their knees and big frowns on their faces is about as much work as they plan to do in the way of being entertaining.”
I’m very excited to have finally gotten around to starting this feature on the blog as it’s been a long time in development and has taken me a while to actually ask anyone to be in a picture for it.
A huge thanks to the lovely Serena for volunteering and being a great model, even or this amateur photographer!
If you would like to take part in this ‘What’s London Reading’ feature and are free for a quick photo and chat please use the contact page of the blog, or you can message our Instagram or Facebook pages.
Please just let Ove succeed in the next chapter, I prayed every night as I cracked the spine of my Kindle.
Title: A Man Called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Available: Now (Amazon, BookDepository)
Moz Rating: 3/5
Ove wants to kill himself. That’s pretty apparent from the first page, what was less apparent was how much I would also want Ove to kill himself by halfway through.
Continue reading “Review: A Man Called Ove”
What’s better than getting drunk in the afternoon and regretting it the next day? Getting out and meeting strangers interested in London’s best bookshops and a bookish quiz, that’s what!
No, I’m not getting married, much to the disappointment of my mother. But this is better than a wedding: The London Bookshop Crawl organised by Ninja Book Box. It’s like a pub crawl but better, even if the pub crawl might be wetter.
Moz, cut the prosaic nonsense, tell us what it is. Ok, ok, The London Bookshop Crawl is exactly what it says on the tin: an afternoon of crawling through some of London’s best independent (and some non-indie) bookshops with other book lovers and potential new friends. What better way to spend a February Saturday?
Currently, the spaces on the guided tours are all taken but there are still FREE tickets available if you want to trail through the shops at your own leisure. Tickets are available through Eventbrite (click here to register for yours).
Unfortunately I was also late to the party, so I’ve missed out on one of the guided tours too but am on the waiting list should a space become available! You can also sign up to take part in the “Bookish” quiz taking place after the crawl which promises to be a great chance to meet some new people and maybe get to know those you bumped into along the way of the book crawl.
I for one am excited. Maybe you are too, check out the event’s Facebook Page for more details and updates!